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Editorial: All you can do is try to 'Teach your children well'

Addie and Maggie Johnson sell lemonade and cookies for a good cause. Maggie goes to Westside Elementary School. Steve Dzubay photo.

As Heather Johnson writes in her letter this week, making sense of the triple homicide that happened in River Falls earlier this month was hard enough for adults to grasp, but even harder to explain so kids can "process an event that is so very tragic."

What happened with the tragic children's deaths is beyond comprehension, beyond words.

But if we can't explain the unexplainable horror, there's still an urge to do something to help. Acting on that urge by participating in a beneficial activity can ease minds and the accompanying helplessness.

Heather's two daughters, Addie, 5, and Maggie, 7, went over to their grandparents' house -- Doug and Kathy Hjersjo -- on a scorching hot afternoon and worked their little lemonade stand in the driveway.

A younger daughter, Katie, and three cousins Mallory, Nora and Lynnea also pitched in. The young family team sold cold beverages and cookies for hours until evening.

Through their combined efforts, hundreds of dollars was raised for one of the victims, Sophie Schaffhausen.

In the end, Heather found an activity that helped her daughters not only work through their fears and anguish, but to show them that the bad things in life can be countered and made better by doing good deeds.

Heather says her daughters didn't know the Schaffhausen sisters personally but had followed the news about what happened and seen their pictures:

"We live in the country, but I grew up in town and had lemonade stands all the time as a kid. The girls have been asking to have a lemonade stand, and I thought this would be a great opportunity for them to...give back in a time of community grief.

"I do think that raising money for the memorial at the library did help the girls to focus on a more positive event associated with the Schaffhausen girls...they seemed less anxious. When they looked at the girls' pictures after they had the lemonade stand, they seemed less upset and were able to say that they raised money to help remember them.

"...I feel proud that what my children did is being recognized, but we did not do it for the attention. I just want to make sure that my children know how good it feels to make a difference in the lives of others."

As they say, actions speak louder than words. Here was one local mom who showed her children how valuable a lesson that can be.

Online Poll: Split on going electric

The Journal's online poll question this week asked: The River Falls Public Library will be adding an outdoor electronic message sign. What do you think of electronic signs? Early responders said:

--Like them, makes the messages fresh and timely, 40%.

--Dislike them, too garish and distract drivers, 40%

--Neutral, hardly notice them, 20%.

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